Little Thoughts: Acknowledging Modesty

Thank you for not dressing to reveal yourself to the world.

My boyfriend said this to me yesterday.  We were at a local amusement park for the day, and in front of us in line, was a young-ish girl (maybe 16 or 17) wearing a shirt that revealed her entire bra.  I was actually rather taken back by how many women and girls were scantily dressed.  I saw more bras, cleavage, butt cheeks, and body parts yesterday, than I did my entire high school career.

I was wearing a college t-shirt, jean capris, and sneakers.  And even when we were in the water park, my body was covered. While we were in line, with this girl and her boyfriend (who couldn’t keep his hands off her, I might add) in front of us, my boyfriend pulled me close, and whispered that in my ear.

I grinned like a freaking fool.

See, here’s the thing; I dress modestly.  I know I have the choice to dress however I want, but I know that what makes me attractive and appealing, isn’t how much skin I reveal. I know my body is attractive to men, simply because I am a woman.  I know men are visual creatures, and I know I want to respect men and not put them in awkward or uncomfortable positions.  There have been times when I’ve worn a shirt not thinking anything of it, and my brothers or other guys I trust, have told me that the shirt was making them uncomfortable.  And guess what? I have incredible respect and appreciation for men that do that, because it makes me aware of the consequences of the clothing I choose to wear.

My boyfriend tells me all the time not only how beautiful how I am, but how smart he thinks I am.  He compliments my writing, and engages in my philosophical ideas.  He encourages my adventurous spirit and he challenges my relationship with God.  He doesn’t make me feel like I need to reveal myself to him, to be worthy of his attention.  And, the cool thing is, he acknowledges my modesty.  He acknowledges how I dress, and by doing so, he’s showing me how much he cares about me.  He knows I could dress however I wanted, but it makes my heart happy to know he appreciates my modesty.

My question to you is this: when did we stop caring about modesty? When did we stop caring about how the other sex reacts to exposed skin?  When did we stop respecting each other, and acknowledging that how we dress and what we choose to expose, has an effect on our primal instincts?  And, when did we stop imparting the importance of modesty on the younger generations?

Personally, I think modesty is hand in hand with respect.  I dress modestly, because I respect and acknowledge the undeniable fact that men are visual beings.  I dress modestly because I respect myself, and I don’t need body parts hanging out to feel good about myself, or to think I am attractive.

Also, and this could easily become another post, but to put it plainly – ladies, if you don’t want to be lusted after, put some clothes on.  Naked girls tend to end up in Playboy.  And, really, guys?  Girls are visual too, so if you don’t want to be lusted after, put some clothes on.  Naked guys tend to end up in Cosmopolitan. 

But I guess, to tie this all up, modesty goes a long way.  You don’t need to show off your body to be attractive.  Guys (and girls) do appreciate modesty.  And there’s something really cool, when people you deeply care about, acknowledge your modesty.

Ciao for now,

Julia

Little thoughts: Pray in Public

*Recently, I’ve found that I have a lot of topics for posts, but very little material to expand on them.  So I figured, at least for now, I would create a little series where I just put these “little thoughts” out into the world., rough cut and short.*

Pray in public.

Pray when you go out to dinner.  Pray when you’re eating a picnic.  Pray when you’re with friends.  Pray when you’re with your family.  Pray when you’re on a date.

Praying in public is a very vulnerable expression of faith.  I know, as Christians, we need to be bold about our faith.  But I’m more comfortable with wearing a shirt from Walk in love. and posting verses and praise songs on my social media, than I am with praying in public.

It’s vulnerable because you are allowing yourself to immediately be judged and criticized.  In an active form of faith, you are putting your guard down and opening the door for attacks.

But.  Pray in public.

Do it.

Still your hands, bow your head, close your eyes, and verbally pray to God.  Show the world who you are thanking and praising.

Let me tell you: It’s a way cool thing to pray with my boyfriend when we’re out to eat.  It’s something I’m not used to, and it’s strengthening my relationship with God.

Be bold, and pray in public.

Pray out loud.

Don’t make a show of it, and don’t demand attention.

But pray.

Pray in public, because you don’t know who may need to see, or hear, it.

Last night, some of my friends and I went to a local Friendly’s for dinner.  When our food came, we prayed together.  As we ate, we goofed off and had fun.  And a good bit of time into our meal, one of the surrounding tables got up, and one of the patrons walked over to us.  It was an older woman, and she told us that she saw us praying.  She said it made her really happy to see the younger generation still praying and being connected to God.  She concluded by saying we had blessed her heart, and made her night.

That made us all really happy, and shocked.  Something as simple as praying, and praying in public, had such an impact on a complete stranger.

I will say it again; pray in public.

Don’t let the fear of being judged keep you from praising and thanking God.  He deserves more than that.

Pray.

 

 

Get to know me: 25 “facts” about me

Hello there! It seems like its been quite some time since I’ve sat down and truly wrote out a post.  I’m in a bit of an inspirational rut at the moment, and there’s also a post or two I’m way behind on posting. (The series of books I’m reading each month, anyone?)

But I figured, as a way to re-inspire myself to write, why not *properly* introduce myself?  I think this could be fun, and I’d love to know your responses and reactions to some of these things! I’d love to know a few “facts” about you, too.

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1. I will be a junior in college in the fall, and I am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  I plan on getting my Master’s at some point in the future, with a focus on providing therapy for kids with special needs.  And ultimately, I hope to use that to complete a Doctorate degree.

2. My family has two cats, and well, I’m well on my way to being a crazy cat lady.  I kinda really like cats …..

3.  I play the flute and piccolo, and have for many years.  But it’s on my Bucket list to play the violin, or rather, to make it weep.  I absolutely love the sound of a weeping violin.

4.  I do not handle needles or similar things well at all.  Yesterday, I had to get a TB test, and came really close to passing out.  I had to lay on the floor with my feet above my head.  The same thing happens when I have to get blood drawn ….. so that’s fun.

5.  I am a Christian, and more specifically, Brethren in Christ.  I was born in the church, raised in the church, and Imma die in the church.  However, as you can probably tell, I’m totally not against talking to people of other religions and beliefs; in fact, I think it’s rather important.  I was even at a Jewish synagogue last fall for one of my classes … that was really cool.

6.  I love Tim Burton movies.  I could very easily write essays on the complex beautiful themes in some of them.  And don’t even get me started on the incredible-ness that happens when he teams up with Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman.  My goodness, so good.

7.  I can’t stand sappy Nicholas Sparks-esque romance movies, or even really dumb chick flick movies.  Period.  Also, I’ve never seen Titanic.  No shame.

8.  I read predominately classics.  My two most favorite books are classics (Jane Eyre and Les Misérables), and most of the books on my shelf are as well.  Also, I have never read The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, the Divergent series, or any other popular book …. they’re not really my cup of tea.  However, I am a sucker for The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  They are so good.

9.  I wear very little makeup on a daily basis, and I really don’t understand how some girls have the time to go through the “normal/expected” makeup routine.  Like seriously, I ain’t got time for that ….

10.  My favorite movies include the Pirates of the Carribbean movies, the Bourne movies, classic Disney movies, anything Time Burton, Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), and Jane Eyre (with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson).

11.  I am a big fan of oldies music.  I really enjoy Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Nina Simone, Etta James, Elvis, and some Motown.  I honestly cannot tell you any of the songs on Billboards Top 100 ….. And ya know, I’m absolutely fine with that …. Ignorance is bliss right?

12.  Beyoncè greatly annoys me.  Really badly.  Also, so does Miranda Sings … and Amy Shummer …… We’ll leave it at that ….

13.  I love big wild thunderstorms.  Where I live, my house has a pretty good view, so when a storm rolls in, we can see the glorious clouds rolling together.  I love the feel of powerful thunder and sweeping winds and blinding lightening … it makes my soul feel alive …..

14.  When I fall asleep or need to seriously de-stress or relax, I use ASMR videos on YouTube …. I promise, this is nothing weird, but it’s still very unknown …..

15.  My favorite time of the year is the fall – my birthday is in November, right before Thanksgiving.  But I love the smells and the memories and traditions.  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because of the memories of carving pumpkins and dressing up.  But I also love Thanksgiving and the anticipation of Christmas.  Plus, I’m kind of a sucker for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade …..

16.  I am right-handed.  Also, I don’t wear contacts or glasses.  And I’v never had braces.  Nor do I need to get my wisdom teeth out ….

17.  Generally speaking, I feel rather self-centered when I’m constantly changing my Facebook profile picture.  For awhile there, my picture us of my back, or of me doing something I loved.  I’m of the mindset that the profile picture should be a visual representation of who you are, and I believe I am more than a face.  Does that make sense?

18.  Here’s a secret: I’m in a relationship.  Gasp, I know.  But one of the things that’s really important to me, is to not flood my social media with coupley pictures, or to obsess over each other publicly.  I won’t be posting a picture of us, until our sixth month mark, and even then, it won’t be sappy.  That’s all to say, I can’t stand Public Internet Displays of Affection.

19.  I put a lot of stock in pinky promises.

20.  I could spend way too much money buying trinket trays, journals, and antique Victorian-style chairs.  It’s bad ….

21.  I can understand basic Spanish.  I can understand, and speak, some complex Italian.  I can understand basic ASL.  My goal is to become completely fluent in one of those three.

22.  I cannot sleep unless my closet doors are closed.  I’m not afraid of the dark, but I’m afraid of what my mind thinks in the dark sometimes.

23.  Spiders and snakes don’t really scary; they just kind of unnerve me.  However, I have two really big fears.  First, I’m terrified of getting to Heaven and feeling like I’ve disappointed God, feeling that I didn’t do enough with this life.  Also, I’m terrified of a natural disaster happening, and my family not being together.  That really scares me …….

24.  I love to camp.  I love being up close and personal with nature and being away from WiFi for a week or so.  It really helps my soul ….

25.  I don’t like coffee, but I love how it smells.  Also, I drink mostly water.  It’s actually quite rare I drink anything else.

Hi, I’m Julia, and that’s just a bit about me.  Nice to meet you. 🙂

 

Thoughts on being single and dating.

This is a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time. This is something that is really important to me, and I feel a lot of people need to hear what I have to say.

I am not saying that to be important or anything, but I feel the concepts of being single and dating are becoming less and less powerful.  When I was single, I often found it to be incredibly empowering, but I also experienced some incredible pressure to be in a relationship.

And to be honest, I think I am on the brink of a wonderful, incredible, maybe my ultimate, relationship, and I see relationships as very serious thing.

I recorded my thoughts on this topic a bit ago, and wanted to write a corresponding blog post.  But as I was trying to figure how to say these things again, I realized I captured my thoughts the best in this recording.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, especially if you are in one of these stages.

So here, my thoughts on dating and being single.

Ciao for now,

Julia

Survey: Modesty

I’ve created another survey!  This time, I am interested in examining how modesty has an impact on single or unmarried men, predominately Christian men.  All answers are kept completely anonymous, I promise!  I do ask, though, as there is space to explain each answer, that you do so.  I’d like this post to be a collection of responses, not just statistics. If this interests you, please follow this link: Modesty.

Thank you all very much!!

P.S. If possible, could you pass this on to your friends? That would be great too!Survey

 

Collection of Beautiful Things (V)

I have been in a really happy mood recently.  It feels like my soul has wings and is bursting forth towards the heavens.  (If you’ve read one of my most recent posts, you can probably guess why.). The world is beautiful and rosy and shimmering in magic.

On my phone, I have a collection of screenshots.  These photos are things that touch my heart and soul in some deep way.  They are beautiful and wonderful and thought-provoking.  This small snippet of photos are varied in topic, but I think each and every one of them have an element of beauty to them, and they make my heart happy.  Some are reminders of God and corresponding verses, some are reminders to adventure, and yet others simply beautiful in motivation and illustration.  Beauty is multi-faceted, isn’t it?

As I am working on other posts to show you soon, I thought I would try to spread the happiness and beauty I am feeling and seeing, with the rest of the world.

Ciao for now,

Julia

I do something rather unglamorous.

I do something unglamorous.

And honestly, I love every minute of it.

At my church, I am part of a program that works to provides aide and help for kids with disabilities, while also creating a safe and inclusive space for them to learn and grow.  I have been a part of this group for at least three years.  And for the duration of those years, I have been a one-on-one to a little girl with Down Syndrome.  (I will be calling her PG throughout this post, as PG stands for “pretty girl”, which is my nickname for her.)

When I started with her, I had little to no experience working with kids with special needs.  I had babysat a group of kids several times prior, with one of the children being on the Autism Spectrum, but that was it.  PG used mostly ASL, had poor use of words,  used braces on her feet, and was honestly a challenge for me when I started.  She will be in first grade this coming school year, and my goodness, how she was grown.  She uses little to no sign, her word usage is incredible, she can write her name and her hand writing is beautiful, and her manners are improving everyday.

Working with kids with special needs is a very unglamorous job.  My hands, arms, and sometimes my legs, have been covered in marker.  My clothes sometimes get covered in drool and bits of chewed food.  Most recently, I had a white shirt get covered in Oreo slobber.  I have had my hair pulled, my fingers bent back the wrong way, and I’ve been pinched and kicked.  I have even had things thrown at me, or I’ve had to block things that were thrown. I have been (very unintentionally) choked, and at times I become a human jungle gym.  There was a period of time where PG liked to bang her head against my chest, if she was sitting in my lap.  And more often than not, working with kids with special needs is a full contact sport.  There are a few kids at my church that don’t like touch, but the vast majority of kids in the program do.  And more often than not, physical touch is used help restrain.  PG is a runner, so I spend time running after her, restraining her, and physically bringing her back to the task at hand.

The past three days were VBS (Vacation Bible School) at my church.  On one of the evenings, PG had diarrhea very early on in the evening.  (It was due to something she ate, and her parents were fine that she stay for the rest of the evening.). However, she got a little in her underpants, and for the rest of the evening, she kept trying to put her hands in her pants.  And though I washed my hands many times with soap and water, by the end of the evening, I smelled like diarrhea.

And all of the parents of the kids in this program, and all of the volunteers who work with the kids, undoubtedly have similar stories to tell.

I want it to be noted, though, that a lot, if not all, of the unglamorous traits of helping kids with disabilities, are simply traits of working with kids.  Working with kids really, of any age group and in any capacity, is beautifully messy.  Working with kids with special needs simply adds another layer of messy beauty.  Kids with special needs are still kids, dealing with the normal issues and challenges of being a kid, but with additional (and oftentimes individualized) traits that come with their diagnosis.

Working with kids with special needs is so unglamorous and frustrating and exhausting and messy and challenging and at times, exceedingly overwhelming.  It is even often a thankless job.  But.  It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and could ever do.

I love my PG.  She may not quite know my name, but she knows she is safe with me.  She knows my face and my voice, and she knows I am here to help her.  She knows she can have fun with me.  In fact, one of my most favorite things is when I can get her to belly laugh.  I love when she hears what I ask her to do and she does it.  I love when she can say “sorry” or “thank you” or “please” without prompting.  She loves to sing and dance, and I love when she sings along, or does the accompanying motions.  I love when she grabs my hand or sits in my lap spontaneously.  She loves to read, and will often “read” me a story, which I simply love. She loves big, gives great hugs, and will walk up to complete strangers and say “hi”.  She knows Jesus, and that makes me so happy.

In the hallway in the lower level of our church, we have a painting of Jesus, surrounded by the kids from our congregation that have passed away.  It’s a beautiful painting, and last night at VBS, PG stopped to look at it.  She pointed to Jesus, and said, “That’s Jesus.  He died.”. I was a bit taken back, but I said “Yes, you’re right.  But He’s not dead anymore, right?  He’s in Heaven.”.  She continued to look at the painting, nodded her head, and said “Yes.  That’s Jesus.”.  Then she grabbed my hand, and walked away.  That moment made my heart all kinds of happy.

And my most favorite story to tell about PG happened when I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and stressed.  It was before she was in Kindergarten, so she was part of a class that had kids ages 3 to 5.  On this particular Sunday, there were four kids with disabilities; PG, her younger brother with intellectual disabilities, and identical twins with Autism, but with complete opposite preferences in terms of physical touch.  I was the only trained volunteer (for kids with disabilities) in the room at the time, and was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There was another helper, who is absolutely incredible.  In a moment when the twins got angry and upset, this amazing helper was right beside me, trying to figure out which twin needed physical touch to calm down, and which didn’t.  It was also in this moment that PG‘s younger brother was stepping on kids and taking toys.  I began to get worried that PG would have a issue, and thus causing this helper and I to put a child under each arm, and get out of the room.  But as I stood up to make sure there weren’t any more issues, PG caught my eye, smiled really big, and started to sing “Jesus Loves Me”.  My heart pretty much overflowed.

Working with kids with special needs is hard. There are times I find myself frustrated and exasperated.  There are times I look for help, and I am learning it is totally okay to say “I need help right now; I can’t do this by myself”.  I make mistakes sometimes, and sometimes I make them a lot.  But I learn something new about PG everyday, and I learn new ways of helping her.  I have loved watching her grow and learn and blossom into the beautiful soul she is.

I do something unglamorous.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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